Today we put the rods down, and for Friday July 5th we took a nice leisurely canoe and kayak trip down the Nissequogue River. I left the electronics in my car so they wouldn't get wet, and despite the heat, we had a great time that was topped off by a little ice cream party in the afternoon. Session 1 is in the books and Session 2 starts on Monday. If it goes half as good as session 1, my mission of treating youngsters to "fun on the water" will be accomplished. Over the past two weeks, I have spent all but one day on the water, and have made several observations:
1. Compared to last year, there appears to be fewer short fluke in our South Shore and NJ Bays. The action is there, but we saw a lot of 100 fish days as opposed to the 150-250 fish days that we saw last year and the year before.
2. There are more big fish in our bays compared to the last 2 years. Their numbers aren't astounding, but we had more fish over 4 pounds in the past 2 weeks than we had in the previous 5 years combined.
3. The majority of the fish we caught came on "old school" meat rigs. For example, last week 3 of my students had over 20 fish in Pt. Jeff, while I only had 4 on my bucktailing gear. This theme held true on the South Shore and in New Jersey when I went on my own trip on Saturday.
4. Kids are the best learners. If you take the time to teach them things properly, they will flourish. By Monday of this week, their behavior and understanding of charter boat etiquette is up there with some of the finest anglers I know. There was no running, no getting too close to the fillet table, no hooks and sinkers swinging, and no whining during slack tides and slower periods.